Mulching leaves during fall is an environmentally friendly alternative to raking and bagging up leaves off your lawn. Mulching provides many benefits and it saves you the backache of raking up leaves every weekend. At Glenn Landscape Services, we always want to provide you with cost-effective and labor-saving landscaping ideas to help you have an easily-managed outdoor living space.
Benefits of Mulching Leaves
Leaves are free organic matter and returning them to your lawn will greatly benefit your yard. Mulching adds nutrients to your soil which means you will need less fertilizer. It is also highly effective in preventing the growth of weeds, and many people who mulch their lawns consecutively for a couple years experience a 100 percent decrease in weeds such as dandelions and crabgrass.
Mulched leaves turn into organic matter by being broken down by earthworms and microorganisms. Mulching mixes nitrogen-rich grass clippings with carbon-rich leaves and promotes a quicker decomposition rate. If you have an abundance of leaves to mulch, add them to your garden or planting beds.
How to Mulch Leaves
New lawn mowers tend to have a mulch setting that makes it easy to shred leaves quickly.
You can also buy a mulching kit at a relatively low-cost. If you don’t have a mulching mower, you can raise your mower deck to its highest setting and mow over leaves once or twice to achieve a similar effect as you would from a mulching mower.
For tall grass with heavy or wet leaf cover, using a side-discharge mower is probably your best bet. Mow in strips so that you go over leaves you have already shredded for a fine and thorough mulch.
If the grass is at a normal height and the leaves are moist to dry, a mulching mower will work perfectly. A mulching mower is designed with a high deck and blade that shreds leaves and grass into small pieces. All you have to do is insert the mulch plug to your mower and close the side-discharge port or remove the bag attachment, depending on your mower. Mow like you normally would and leave the mulched leaves and grass clippings on your lawn.
When to Mulch
The best time to mulch fallen leaves is when you can still see some grass through the leaf cover. Depending on the mower you have, up to six inches of leaves can be mulched at a time. However, a thin, even coating of leaves will be easier to mulch than a thick cover. Although it may be a little difficult in Oregon, try to mulch when your lawn and fallen leaves are dry. The drier the leaves are, the better and easier the leaves will shred.